A controversial bill requiring electricians working in Dutchess County, N.Y., to hold a county-issued license recently passed the county legislature. The law, now in its fourth incarnation, was approved by a 17 to 8 vote, enough votes to override a possible veto by County Executive William Steinhaus, who has been an outspoken opponent of the legislation. Steinhaus must hold a public hearing before acting on the measure. If it is ultimately approved, proponents say that due to the need to create a licensing board and begin offering the licensing test, it will likely take two years before the law can be enforced.
Opponents of the legislation say the law is designed to give electrical contractors a monopoly in the business. Supporters argue the law would hold electricians accountable for their work and protect consumers from shoddy electrical work.
In 1989, the Dutchess County Legislature rejected a similar proposal, and another bill, proposed in 2000, was pulled by the sponsor before it made it to a vote.